The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Southern slugfest
May 23, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
Down but not out
May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M infielder Rylen Wiggins (2) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Aggies’ season ends with heartbreaking loss to Longhorns
Luke White, Sports Editor • May 27, 2024

Sharper play in the sixth innings of Texas A&M softball’s NCAA Super Regional series with No. 1 Texas may have been the difference between...

Advertisement
Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
Advertisement
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

New chips on the block

 
 

Soon, forensic scientists may be able to take some of their DNA lab equipment to the scene of a crime in their pockets.
Victor Ugaz, an assistant professor of chemical engineering, has developed a virtually pocket-sized tool to allow forensic scientists, who are dealing with very small traces of DNA samples, to increase the samples’ concentration so that any DNA can be detected.
“You could take a sample and load it onto this chip,” Ugaz said. “(You can) have it do all these reactions in a handheld device.”
The device is a small component of a machine and is made of electrodes about 50 microns wide that attract the negatively charged DNA down a channel. A micron, Ugaz said, is one millionth of a meter wide; a human hair is 50 to 100 microns wide.
The DNA becomes more and more concentrated as it moves along the channel, he said.
The device’s on-site detection abilities would help eliminate the problem of losing samples en route to labs where the DNA analyses can be run.
“The fresher the sample, the better,” said Jim Olson, a professor of entomology who instructs a class on forensic entomology.
Olson is working on a few forensic cases and said the mobility this chip allows will help detect DNA from samples that are usually difficult to detect, such as samples that are liquefied in small amounts or ones that have small traces of DNA.
“I can see it being used by crime scene investigators … we deal constantly (with) minute amounts of DNA … in corpses at death scenes,” Olson said.
This technology could be useful in detecting avian flu in groups of birds, said Geoffrey Kapler, assistant professor of molecular and cellular medicines. “If you had an animal that was infected with (the) avian flu virus and you wanted to screen healthy animals and identify the infected animals, the more sensitive your test, the more you can detect virally infected birds,” he said.
Ugaz’s technology, which he started thinking of as a graduate student at the University of Michigan, requires the DNA to already be extracted, but he hopes to develop a way to extract it in the future.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *